Nike and OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital reveal Doernbecher Freestyle XVIII Collection
The collection includes footwear, apparel and equipment.
Original content published: 28 October 2022
A partnership between Nike and Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) Doernbecher Children's Hospital, the Doernbecher Freestyle programme offers young patients the opportunity to design a limited-edition footwear, apparel and equipment collection. Each year, six patient-designers work alongside a team of volunteer Nike designers to create one-of-a-kind collections.
Over the course of nine months, the patients work with Nike designers to illustrate their personal and medical journeys for their product collections. To do so, the Nike team circulates and reviews patient questionnaires. From there, designs evolve through multiple rounds of colour and material feedback from the kids.
The final designs are revealed at an auction night and sold as a fundraiser for the hospital. Since the programme's inception in 2004, Doernbecher Freestyle has raised nearly $31 million for the hospital.
Among this year's six Doernbecher Freestyle sneaker designs, inspiration comes from starry nights, fruit, investing, springtime, the patients' heritage and their sunny dispositions.
Meet the Doernbecher Freestyle XVIII patient-designers
1. Coley Miller
Coley's ancestral roots run deep in the Klamath Tribal community, where she grew up in Southern Oregon. Coley was born with renal failure.
Her full Doernbecher Freestyle collection includes a Nike Air Foamposite One, backpack and tracksuit bottoms. The night-sky graphics on the shoe are inspired by stargazing with her mother, who donated one of her kidneys to Coley.
The phrase "ho mas gi" on the outsole is a reminder to "Just Do It" in the Klamath language. Her retro hoop shoe features a basket-weave graphic that incorporates a quail plume and the Klamath mountains.
2. Dario Villaseñor Valdivia
Dario may only be 14, but his medical team describes him as an old soul with wisdom beyond his years. Dario received a bone marrow transplant seven years ago to treat his myelomonocytic leukaemia.
His collection includes a Nike Air Huarache, printed crew neck and tracksuit bottoms. The button logos on the heel clip of his Huarache are a nod to Dario's passion for making animated videos. His favourite fluffy plush toy makes an appearance on the brown lining.
When seen together, both outsoles read "siempre fuerte", a reminder that Dario is "always strong". The decal on the tongue is shaped as an orange, one of Dario's favourite fruits. The texture of an orange is also used on the side panels.
Finally, the characters on the toe box represent Dario's passion for stick-figure animation, which he plans to do professionally in the future.
3. Emerson Harrell
When Emerson was 12 years old, he started experiencing severe stomach issues that turned out to be inflammatory bowel disease, which is now under control after going to Doernbecher.
Emerson's collection includes a Nike Air Max 90, hoodie and hat. The phrase "Bear Down" on the shoe is a shout-out to Emerson's beloved Arizona Wildcats, as well as a rallying cry for all of life's challenges.
The sockliner includes Emerson's initials and the coordinates of his hometown, and the tongue features a custom Emerson logo. Symbolising Emerson's goal to become an investment banker, the toe box imitates the texture of a dollar bill.
4. Jaren Heacock
Jaren was born with a cleft palate and has undergone dental surgery, a rhinoplasty, bone grafting and a complex procedure to lengthen his soft palate.
His Doernbecher Freestyle collection includes a Nike Zoom Vomero 5, hoodie and backpack. The bright colours are an example of Jaren's dragon-inspired design cues, which honour his Chinese heritage.
The tongue patch features the Chinese character for dragon (his zodiac sign), a block version of Jaren's likeness and "Team J", which represents his sibling's first initial.
The "Future" detail on the shoe is inspired by Jaren's dreams of helping to create the future as an engineer, an artist, a designer or a doctor. The sockliner features pixelated fireworks, combining Jaren's love of the Chinese New Year with his favourite metaverse game.
5. Riddhi Mahajan
Riddhi lives with cystic fibrosis, but that doesn't stop her from doing what she loves. She plays tennis and basketball. She swims. She is getting top marks at school. She even has a black belt in Taekwondo.
Her collection includes Air Jordan 1 Lows, a crew neck and hat. Riddhi radiates positivity wherever she goes. That mantra—"Radiate Positivity"—is printed on the sockliner. The ombré laces represent a sunrise, and the phrase "Brand New Day" is a reminder that there's always something to look forward to. Underneath the translucent purple outsole, you'll find Riddhi's name inscribed.
6. Kylee Young
When Kylee was nearly 2 years old, an E. coli infection left her unable to speak and needing to use a wheelchair, but she continues to share her joy with the world every day.
Kylee's collection includes her Nike Air Presto, a hoodie and hat. The Nike Air Presto features many of the things that bring her joy, like springtime and flowers. Gradient laces begin with Kylee's favourite colour, pink, followed by the rest of the rainbow.
A custom decal on the tongue includes one of Kylee's nicknames, "Ky", drawn inside a bright flower bud. Kylee's other nickname, "Cookies", is on the heel, as she's great at selling cookies for her Girl Scout troop.
Release date: The Doernbecher Freestyle XVIII collection will launch on SNKRS, the Nike App, Nike.com and at selected retailers in early 2023.